STEM Challenge - Can You Slow Down A Marble?


For this activity, students will build a structure for a marble to go through. The challenge will be to have the marble slow down as much as possible.

Are you up for the challenge? Can you slow down a marble?

Grab cardboard toilet paper tubes, tape, and marbles and let's learn all about friction and forces.

What you need per team...

  • 15 Cardboard Toilet Paper Tubes

  • 1 Roll Of Tape

  • 1 Marble

  • Optional: Other Building Materials

  • Fabric, Paper, and/or Coffee Filters

  • Timer

What you need to do...

  • Begin by asking students what they know about friction and forces.

  • Here is a video to give students a great understanding of friction and forces.

  • Explain to students that today they have the challenge of designing a structure that allows a marble to move SLOWLY down it.

  • The winner of this challenge will be the team that has the slowest travel time.

  • The rules for this challenge are that:

  • The structure is wide enough for the marble to move down.

  • The marble cannot stop or move backward in the structure.

  • The marble can move all the way through the structure without falling out.

  • Put students into twos and set a timer for 15 minutes and have students brainstorm how they are going to build their structure to slow down a marble.

  • Now would be a great time to let students use apps such as Sketchpad to draw their ideas.

  • Tell students they get 25 minutes to build their structure and start the timer!

  • After 25 minutes is up have each team go in front of the class and test how slow their marble can go. Make sure to time how long it takes their marble to get through their structure.

  • The team with the slowest time wins!

We would love to see you try this STEM Challenge. Share your results with us through social media!

Happy Making,

Maker Maven


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